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What define cleanliness?

Updated: 9/17/2023
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14y ago

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There are different types of cleanliness: 1. our bodies 2. our environments.

Different countries and cultures may have differences in how each defines "cleanliness". For example, many societies still walk barefoot all the time, in or outside, and in all types of weather. Yet, in some homes in other countries, the homeowner demands that visitors remove their shoes before walking on carpets even if the weather is dry and the visitor has wiped their shoes off before entering the house.

Generally, in health "cleanliness" implies the absence of disease or the reduced risk of disease. We insist people wash and be well-groomed; we scrub our hospitals (as some people also do at home).

Yet, many doctors and researchers today point out that our bodies have gotten more at risk of disease because we have tried to "sterilze" ourselves and our environments too much.

As well, many naturally occurring events that now cause people to react in disgust are "treatments" in other countries. For example, a recent news report said one of the Haitian victims had maggots in the person's leg wound. But, in some counties (and in research), maggots have been used to clean wounds since maggots live on the pus in an infected wound. Research has shown that when maggots remove the pus, the wound is far cleaner and the person's risk for a blood infection is lower. Yet, we have had many years of teaching that says "insects are nasty" and "everything must be clean".

So, generally, "cleanliness" in most countries and in most societies means clean bodies, clean environments, and little or no evidence of insect or pests like mice or rats.

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